In the past, I have written a lot of music for music’s sake and I now want to try the challenge of writing for a specific purpose. For this task I’ve been given a short film to score.
The film score can have a real say in how a film is shaped and although, ‘in one sense, all (or almost all) music in narrative film functions to create mood music’ (Kassabian, 2001), it serves three broad purposes; identification (a leitmotif identifies character, place, period etc.), mood and commentary (the underscore comments on a character’s situation – think Tom and Jerry).
The film I’ve been given focusses on a WW2 veteran who revisits the battlegrounds of France. As he reflects on his wartime experience, the film uses flashback scenes to tell his story. I wanted to avoid the cliché of big orchestral strings and try a subtle electronic approach. My first task is to spot the film for music. The flashback scenes are dialogue heavy and I didn’t feel an underscore was needed here. I also felt an electronic score wouldn’t be appropriate at these points.
There are two key moments of reflection when the character is an old man where I wanted to subtly use the music for dramatic effect, to heighten emotion and to guide the narrative through the internalised world of the central character.